Record rainfall in St. Louis area brings flooding, rescues

ST. LOUIS — A record rainfall Tuesday across the St. Louis metro led to flash flooding, road closures and multiple reports of submerged vehicles.

Firefighters in the city were scrambling before sunrise Tuesday, putting small boats in the water to try to check vehicles to make sure no one is inside.

“We’re being overrun here,” St. Louis fire Capt. Garon Mosby said as he closed out a video on Twitter, urging people to avoid standing water.

In the 2700 block of Hermitage Avenue, in the southwest part of the city, fire crews went to about 18 homes with substantial flooding and reports of people trapped inside. They rescued six people and six dogs. Fifteen people decided to stay put.

No injuries had been reported as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.

The National Weather Service office in Weldon Spring said the city experienced record rainfall. St. Louis recorded 8.06 inches of rainfall from midnight Monday to about 7 a.m. Tuesday. The old record was 6.85 inches on Aug. 20, 1915.

Thunderstorms will continue for the next few hours, the forecasters said, and taper off by 10 a.m.

The National Weather Service had issued a flash-flood watch on Monday morning for areas north of St. Louis, such as Quincy, but on Monday night about 7 p.m. realized the flooding could stretch farther south to include the St. Louis metro area, said Kevin Deitsch, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Some areas in central to eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois could see more than 12 inches, the Weather Service said.

Across St. Louis, multiple vehicles were stranded in floodwaters near Forest Park Parkway and South Vandeventer Avenue, along North Kingshighway, and at Interstate 44 and Jefferson Avenue. In the 1000 block of North Skinker, fire crews in small rescue boats were searching or anyone who might be stranded.

In St. Charles County, Interstate 70 was closed in both directions near Mid Rivers Mall Drive, possibly due to Spencer Creek, the Weather Service said. Around 7:45 a.m., westbound traffic on I-70 was moving through high water, and highway crews were still trying to unclog a drain along the highway.

Highway 61 near Flint Hill also was closed due to high water.

About 4:45 a.m., Deer Creek exceeded major flood stage at Litzsinger and Rock Hill roads, as did Fee Fee Creek in Maryland Heights, officials said.

At 6:15 a.m., Metro announced that its bus, train and Call-A-Ride passengers could see delays of two hours of more because of flash flooding on its tracks and area roads.

MetroLink train passengers were being shuttled by bus between some stops, including between the Lambert Airport and Central West End stations, Maplewood and Central West End stations, Grand and Civic Center stations, and East Riverfront and 5th and Missouri stations.

University City Schools announced at about 7 a.m. that its district employees should work from home Tuesday because of the rain. Families run out of their homes by floodwaters can go to relief sites at Barbara C. Jordan Elementary at 1500 82nd Boulevard, Pershing Elementary at 6761 Bartmer Avenue or Brittany Woods Middle School at 8125 Groby Road.